A little over a week ago, Dr. Yan Zhang, a Veterinary Virologist who is also currently serving as co-director of the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (ADDL) at the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), had the insight to realize that the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory could help make a critical component of the COVID-19 sample collection. The nation is facing a shortage in the supply of Viral Transport Media (VTM) tubes, which is the tube with liquid used to transport a swab collected from a possible COVID-19 patient to laboratories for testing. Since the human VTM tubes are very similar to the ones used for animal virus samples, Dr. Zhang offered the lab’s services to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). ODH Laboratories was able to source the supplies needed to assemble the transport tubes and Dr. Zhang and Dr. Jing Cui worked to assemble tubes over the weekend.
Melanie Prarat, Sandy Blackford, Dominika Jurkovic, Dr. Jing Cui, and Dr. Yan Zhang all helped put the tubes together because they felt there is a critical need for these tubes right now. As of Monday morning, 500 tubes were assembled and delivered to ODH to be sent to hospitals in need. Dr. Zhang also mentioned as long as there is a need for more of these tubes, he remains at the ready to make more.
The entire team at the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory and all staff members at the Ohio Department of Agriculture are continuing to work tirelessly to protect the public, animals and plants to ensure there is a safe food supply during this time.